When I was younger I wanted to be famous. Let’s just put that out there. When you were a kid, you wanted to be famous too, you might as well admit it. Any kid worth their salt wants to be famous. Even if you wanted to be something with relative anonymity like an inventor, scientist, teacher, you could still be famous for it somehow.
There was also something else I wanted when I was younger. At the beginning of the school year there’s nothing sweeter than the smell of a fresh notebook before the school season starts. For me, going down the aisles of our local store shopping for school supplies was always one of my favorite parts of the year. Everything was new, everything was still fresh, untouched and more importantly, it was the time of year where we were excited because everyone had the same grades.
One afternoon, I was perusing the blank pages of my new 5 subject notebook while sitting on my bedroom floor. The Mead company had really outdone themselves that year. Back in the early 90’s we didn’t have the internet, cell phones or access to call a company ran by several ladies and Katharine Hepburn who knew the answers to everything.
Instead, Mead came up with the great idea of putting times tables in the back, along with a few other helpful goodies.
One of the helpful things listed on the final page of the notebook; quotes from famous people. You had the likes of Winston Churchill mingling with Thomas Edison. You might have had a quote from George Washington Carver or Marie Curry. As my eyes read the quotes one by one, an alarming one seized my brain.
Who was this Andy? Why did he think this? I knew several “Andys” and none of them had ever thought this or said anything of this nature to me. They were usually too busy telling jokes or singing songs to other girls on the school bus. Why was this guy so special he had a quote? Surely he was a scientist or something and knew something we all didn’t. I imagined a man sitting there with a giant calculator and a notebook trying to exact the least amount of minutes one would have for fame.
Next thing, my mind flitted to the amount of times I had been mentioned in the local newspaper. There was that time my third grade class was featured because we all dressed up funny for school spirit week. That was probably about 6 seconds for every person who decided to read the paper that day and glazed over my name. I knew everyone in class bought a copy so that was exactly 6 seconds times 30 kids and one teacher. That is 3 minutes and 10 seconds off my fifteen minutes this Andy had guaranteed me. Then there was the time I won an award in the science fair.
Sure it was great winning an award, but then there goes about another 3 minutes and 10 seconds of my fame, plus the time it took distant relatives to read the article which my family made sure to send them.
Within 5 minutes I had looked at my life like it was a cell phone plan, before there were cellphones. I wasn’t worried that I wasn’t living, I wasn’t worried about finishing school, falling in love, making the coolest art, or writing the best paper. As far as my 12 year old self was concerned I didn’t even have time for a bucket list.
I was too scared I had used up my minutes.
Lucky for me, there is more to life than fame.
What as something silly that you were afraid you had limited time on?